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Publication numberUS7426928 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 11/491,092
Publication dateSep 23, 2008
Filing dateJul 21, 2006
Priority dateNov 18, 2004
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asUS20060272630
Publication number11491092, 491092, US 7426928 B2, US 7426928B2, US-B2-7426928, US7426928 B2, US7426928B2
InventorsLarry E. Sanders, Heidi M. Sanders
Original AssigneeSanders Larry E, Sanders Heidi M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable cooking grill having collapsible and extensible frame
US 7426928 B2
Abstract
A portable cooking grill is configured with a collapsible frame having a pair of frame sections extending outwardly and downwardly from a pair of foldably connected grill sections to allow the user to adjust the height of the grilling surface and the frame width. Each frame section has a pair of telescoping legs pivotally connected to the ends of side support rails. The side support rails have a downwardly facing U-shaped channel which receives one of the legs therein. For storage, the legs are telescopically collapsed and then folded into the channel, the support rails are received in a tubular section of the grill sections and the grill sections are folded together. The legs have a securing mechanism to secure the legs at the height desired by the user. A engagement mechanism secures the side support rails in the retracted or extended, or therebetween, position relative to the grill sections.
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Claims(20)
1. A portable cooking grill, comprising:
a frame having a first frame section and a second frame section, each of said first frame section and said second frame section comprising one or more legs and one or more side support rails, each of said legs having a first end and a second end, each of said side support rails having a first end, a second end and a channel disposed between said first end and said second end of said side support rails, said first end of said legs pivotally connected to said first end of said side support rails, said channel sized and configured to receive one of said legs therein; and
a first grill section interconnecting said first frame section and said second frame section, said first grill section having a first end at said first frame section, a second end at said second frame section, a first side and a second side, said first grill section having a tubular section at each of said first side and said second side thereof, said tubular section sized and configured to receive said side support rails therein,
wherein said legs are received in said channels and said side support rails are slidably received in said tubular section to pivot and collapse said frame between a first position extended and open for cooking and a second folded position closed for storage, said first grill section defining a grilling surface when said frame is in said first position.
2. The portable cooking grill according to claim 1 further comprising a second grill section disposed between said first grill section and said second frame section, said second grill section having a first end at said second frame section, a second end foldably connected to said second end of said grill section, a first side and a second side.
3. The portable cooking grill according to claim 2, wherein said second grill section has a tubular section at each of said first side and said second side thereof, said tubular section sized and configured to receive said side support rails of said second frame section therein.
4. The portable cooking grill according to claim 3, wherein said tubular section is open at said first end of said first grill section to slidably receive said side support rails of said first frame section therein and open at said first end of said second grill section to slidably receive said side support rails of said second frame section therein.
5. The portable cooking grill according to claim 2 further comprising a hinge interconnecting said second end of said first grill section and said second end of said second grill section.
6. The portable cooking grill according to claim 1, wherein said legs are configured to pivot from inside said channel in said second position to downward projecting in said first position.
7. The portable cooking grill according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said first grill section and said second grill section has a plurality of substantially parallel disposed grate rods interconnecting said first side and said second side thereof.
8. The portable cooking grill according to claim 1, wherein each of said legs comprises a first leg member and a second leg member in telescoping cooperation with said first leg member.
9. The portable cooking grill according to claim 8 further comprising means for securing the position of said second leg member relative to said first leg member.
10. The portable cooking grill according to claim 1, wherein said tubular section is open at each of said first end and said second end of said first grill section and said side support rails are slidably received in said tubular sections.
11. The portable cooking grill according to claim 1 further comprising engagement means interconnecting said first grill section and each of said side support rails for securing said side support rails relative to said first grill section.
12. A portable cooking grill, comprising:
a frame having a first frame section and a second frame section, each of said first frame section and said second frame section comprising one or more legs and one or more side support rails, each of said legs having a first end, a second end, a first leg member and a second leg member in telescoping cooperation with said first leg member, each of said side support rails having a first end, a second end and a channel disposed between said first end and said second end of said side support rails, said first end of said legs pivotally connected to said first end of said side support rails, said channel sized and configured to receive one of said legs therein;
a first grill section having a first end, a second end, a first side and a second side; and
a second grill section having a first end, a second end, a first side and a second side, said second end of said first grill section foldably connected to said second end of said second grill section, at least one of said first grill section and said second grill section having a tubular section at each of said first side and said second side thereof, said tubular section sized and configured to slidably receive said side support rails therein,
wherein said legs are received in said channels and said side support rails are received in said tubular section so as to pivot and collapse said frame between a first position extended and open for cooking and a second folded position closed for storage said first grill section and said second grill section defining a grilling surface when said frame is in said first position.
13. The portable cooking grill according to claim 12, wherein both of said first grill section and said second grill section has said tubular section at said first side and said second side thereof.
14. The portable cooking grill according to claim 13, wherein said tubular section is open at said first end of said first grill section to slidably receive said side support rails of said first frame section therein and open at said first end of said second grill section to slidably receive said side support rails of said second frame section therein.
15. The portable cooking grill according to claim 12 further comprising a hinge interconnecting said second end of said first grill section and said second end of said second grill section.
16. The portable cooking grill according to claim 12, wherein said legs are configured to pivot from inside said channel in said second position to downward projecting in said first position.
17. The portable cooking grill according to claim 12 further comprising means for securing the position of said second leg member relative to said first leg member.
18. The portable cooking grill according to claim 12 further comprising engagement means interconnecting said first grill section and each of said side support rails of said first frame section and interconnecting said second grill section and each of said side support rails of said second frame section for securing the position of said side support rails relative to said first grill section and said second grill section.
19. A portable cooking grill, comprising:
a frame having a first frame section and a second frame section, each of said first frame section and said second frame section comprising a pair of legs and a pair of side support rails, each of said legs having a first end, a second end, a first leg member and a second leg member in telescoping cooperation with said first leg member, each of said side support rails having a first end, a second end and a substantially U-shaped channel disposed between said first end and said second end of said side support rails, said first end of said legs pivotally connected to said first end of said side support rails, said channel sized and configured to receive one of said legs therein;
means on each of said legs for securing the position of said second leg member relative to said first leg member;
a first grill section having a first end, a second end, a first side and a second side; and
a second grill section having a first end, a second end, a first side and a second side, said second end of said first grill section foldably connected to said second end of said second grill section, a tubular section at said first side and said second side of each of said first grill section and said second grill section, said tubular section open at said first end of said first grill section to slidably receive said side support rails of said first frame section therein and open at said first end of said second grill section to slidably receive said side support rails of said second frame section therein,
wherein said legs are received in said channels and said side support rails are received in said tubular section so as to pivot and collapse said frame from a first position extended and open for cooking to a second folded position closed for storage and wherein said side rails slide out of said tubular section and said legs pivot downward from inside said channel to open said frame to said first position from said second position, said first grill section and said second grill section defining a grilling surface when said frame is in said first position.
20. The portable cooking grill according to claim 19 further comprising engagement means interconnecting said first grill section and each of said side support rails of said first frame section and interconnecting said second grill section and each of said side support rails of said second frame section for securing the position of said side support rails relative to said first grill section and said second grill section.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/992,975 filed Nov. 18, 2004, which issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,080,640 on Jul. 25, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of the Invention

The field of the present invention relates generally to portable apparatuses used for grilling or barbequing food over a fire or other source of heat. More particularly, the present invention relates to such apparatuses that are configured to be collapsible and foldable for ease of portability and storage. Even more particularly, the present invention relates to such apparatuses that are adjustable in length and height for use over different sizes of heat sources or variable placement of the grill surface relative to the heat source.

B. Background

Many people enjoy cooking various types of food on a grilling surface over an open fire, charcoal or other sources of heat. As is well known, this type of cooking is commonly referred to as grilling or barbequing. The grilling surface typically comprises a plurality of interconnected, spaced apart and generally parallel transverse rods or bars that form a grate on which the food is cooked. Alternatively, the grilling surface may comprise a ribbed surface or a generally flat, griddle-type of surface. Many home, restaurant and other cooking locations grill the food to obtain certain flavor and health benefits that are well known to be associated with grilling food. At home, many people utilize outdoor barbeque grills, with the heat supplied by gas, charcoal, wood or other fuel, to cook their food. While grilling of food is popular both at and away from the home, outdoor enthusiasts such as hunters, campers, hikers, recreational vehicle users and the like particularly tend to utilize and enjoy grilling their food. Although some of this popularity has to do with the lack of a non-grilling cooking device, such as an oven or stove, that is suitable or efficient for cooking food outdoors, much of the popularity of grilling has to do with the availability of fuel (such as wood), the taste of grilled foods, the avoidance of inside cooking odors and the overall enjoyment of the outdoor experience. For this reason, even those outdoor enthusiasts who do have ovens or stoves readily available, such as recreational vehicle users and many camper units, often prefer to grill their food over an open fire-type of heat source outside the recreational vehicle or other camp vehicle.

With regard to grilling of food at outdoor camping locations, many such locations have a fire pit or the like provided for the outdoor enthusiast to use to grill food. In many areas of the country, if the person staying at the area desires to grill his or her food, use of the provided fire pit is mandatory, as opposed to making their own fire pit, for aesthetic and fire safety reasons. Fire pits commonly have side walls formed from one or more different types of materials, including steel rings, rocks, concrete, bricks and other materials, that are suitable for substantially enclosing the cooking fire therein. Often, the material for the fire pit side walls is selected from materials that are commonly available or otherwise associated with the particular location. Although the typical fire pit is generally circular in shape, fire pits are known to come in other shapes, including square, rectangular and various multi-faceted shapes. Depending on the area where the fire pit is located or on the personal preferences of the fire pit builder, the height of the fire pit side walls may vary somewhat from one location to another, or even from one campground to other campgrounds in the same area. Some fire pits may be built substantially into the ground, while others may have side walls that stand twelve, eighteen, twenty-four inches, or even more, above the ground.

Unless the food is to be cooked over the fire or other heat source utilizing a skewer, such as one would do with hot dogs or marshmallows, the typical user of the fire pit places a grilling surface on the fire pit walls or other supporting structure such that the grilling surface is substantially over the fire for cooking his or her food. Some fire pits have grilling surfaces available for the user to use with the fire pit. In fact, some of these provided grilling surfaces are hingedly connected to the fire pit wall such that they can be folded over the fire to provide a secure surface for grilling the food. For a variety of taste, health and sanitary reasons, however, many outdoor enthusiasts do not utilize the provided grilling surface and instead choose to utilize their own grilling surface for cooking. The problem the outdoor enthusiast faces with providing his or her own grilling surface is at least two-fold, namely being able to store the grilling surface when it is not in use and having a properly sized grilling surface for the fire pit or other cooking area. Because it is very difficult to guess or know in advance the size of grilling surface that can be utilized with a particular fire pit or other cooking area, the outdoor enthusiast either must bring more than one grilling surface to accommodate different size fire pits, modify the fire pit to fit his or her grilling surface or otherwise make the grilling surface and fire pit cooperate to provide a secure grilling surface (i.e., one that will not fall into the fire with the food on it). Bringing multiple sizes of grilling surfaces is not usually a practical solution and many fire pits cannot be easily modified, such as by moving the fire pit side walls, to securely support the grilling surface. Even when the grilling surface can be supported by the fire pit side walls or other supporting structures, use of the side walls or support structure fixes the height of the grilling surface relative to the fire or other heat source. Many persons consider this to be a major disadvantage to use of fire pits because it does not provide the user with any flexibility with regard to how close he or she can place the grilling surface, and therefore the food cooking on the grilling surface, to the heat from the heat source. As well known to most persons, this flexibility is desired so that the user may control how fast or slow the food will cook and to what extent the heat source is able to sear or not sear the cooking food.

One alternative the outdoor enthusiast has to using a provided fire pit and his or her own grilling surface is to utilize a barbeque unit, which usually has a “built-in” grilling surface and is similar in configuration to the typical home unit, that can be brought to the cooking location by the camping vehicle, recreational vehicle or other vehicle. Unfortunately, use of the home-type of barbeque units is generally not very practical due to the size of such units and the storage space available to the outdoor enthusiast for carrying the necessary materials and equipment to the camping location. In addition, many such units can be difficult to load and unload from the vehicle due to their size, weight and/or shape. As such, the typical outdoor enthusiast does not utilize these types of barbeque units for his or her grilling purposes.

Portable grills suitable for use over a fire or other heat source, with or without a built-in or established fire pit, are well known in the prior art. In fact, a number of patents have issued for such devices. Representative of such portable grills is U.S. Pat. No. 6,131,560 to Healy, which discloses a portable grill having telescoping legs that extend for use of the grill over an open fire or other heat source and which fold to allow the grill to be easily transported in a case or other carrying unit. U.S. Pat. No. 5,452,706 to Meza and U.S. Pat. No. 4,977,824 to Shinler disclose roll-up cooking grills that are suitable for providing a flat surface over a heat source and then being rolled into a bundle for storage and transport. U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,399 to Hamill, U.S. Pat. No. 4,475,528 to Kuchenbrod, U.S. Pat. No. 1,309,049 to Syrett and U.S. Pat. No. 718,714 to Larson are examples of cooking grills that have foldable grilling surfaces that are supported above the fire for cooking and which are folded to provide a more compact unit for storage and transport. U.S. Pat. No. 6,279,467 to Tiemann, U.S. Pat. No. 4,553,523 to Stohrer and U.S. Pat. No. 4,178,844 to Ward are examples of cooking grids, racks or grates that are configured to allow the unit to expand in one or more directions. U.S. Pat. No. 6,681,759 to Bentulan discloses a home-type of barbeque grill apparatus that is configured to expand and contract so as to increase or decrease the cooking surface area. U.S. Pat. No. 4,920,950 to Johnson is an example of a camp stove or grill that has legs which fold relative to the grilling surface for storage and transport. U.S. Pat. No. 6,546,851 to Osborne describes a portable cooking grill that is configured to be substantially disassembled for storage and transport.

While the prior art teaches a variety of features and configurations for portable cooking grills, none of the known references teach or suggest the unique structural features of the portable cooking grill of the present invention. Specifically, the prior does not teach, whether taken singularly or in combination, a portable cooking grill that is configured for use over a fire or other heat source that is sufficiently versatile for use with a variety of different sized fire pits or other cooking areas and which is easily collapsed for storage and transport. What is needed, therefore, is a portable cooking grill that provides a substantially flat grilling surface above a fire or other heat source that is adjustable in length to accommodate different sized fire pits or cooking areas, adjustable in height to allow the user to adjust for how close he or she wants or needs the food to be to the fire and substantially collapsible for ease of storage and transport. A preferred portable cooking grill will include a frame system that is configured to support one or more grilling surfaces, extend as necessary for different sizes of fire pits and fold for storage. The preferred portable cooking grill will also comprise telescoping legs to allow the user to adjust the height of the cooking surface relative to the fire or other heat source over which the food will be grilled. The preferred portable cooking grill will be easy for the typical user to set-up for cooking and collapse for storage/transport. The preferred portable cooking grill will also be adaptable for using replaceable grilling inserts to provide different types of grilling surfaces such that the user can choose the type of grilling surface he or she believes to be the most beneficial for the type of food to be cooked (i.e., hamburgers or steak versus pancakes or eggs).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The portable cooking grill of the present invention solves the problems and provides the benefits identified above. That is to say, the present invention discloses a new portable cooking grill having a collapsible and extendable frame to allow the user to easily store and transport the cooking grill and adapt it for different sizes of fire pits or other cooking areas. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the portable cooking grill includes a pair of grill sections that are hingedly connected together so as to provide a substantially flat cooking surface in its cooking position and to be easily folded for ease of storage and transport. The preferred frame has four telescoping legs, to allow adjustment of the height of the grilling surface above the fire or heat source. Each leg is pivotally connected to a substantially U-shaped side support rail, having the opening facing downward, in a configuration that allows the legs to fold upward into the side support rails for storage and transport. The legs include a securing mechanism to adjustably set the height of the grilling surface above the fire. The preferred grill sections have tubular sides that slidably receive the side support rails to allow extension of the frame for placement over different sizes of fire pits or other cooking areas and for collapsing, with the legs folded inside, for storage.

In preferred embodiment of the present invention, the portable cooking grill of the present invention includes a frame having a pair of extendable frame sections that each have a pair of elongated legs and a pair of elongated side support rails. Each of the legs are configured with a first leg member, a second leg member in telescoping cooperation with the first leg member and mechanism for securing the position of the second leg member relative to the first leg member. The upper end of each of the legs is pivotally connected to the outside end of a side support rail by a pivoting mechanism, such as a pivot pin. Each side support rail is a generally U-shaped configuration with the opening facing downward to receive the collapsed leg inside the side support rail by folding the leg upward. The grilling surface is formed by a first grill section and a second grill section that are foldably interconnected. In the preferred embodiment, a hinge interconnects the inside ends of each of the first and second grill sections. To facilitate adjustment of the portable cooking grill for different sized fire pits or cooking areas and the collapse and storage of the portable cooking grill, each grill section has tubular side members that slidably receive the side support rails and a slide lock connector that locks the position of the side support rails relative to the tubular side portion of the grill sections (whether fully extended, fully retracted or therebetween). To fold/collapse the portable cooking grill from its folded and extended cooking position, the user loosens the leg securing mechanism allow the lower/second leg member slide into the upper/first leg member, tightens the securing mechanism to hold the second leg member inside the first leg member, folds the collapsed legs into the side support rails, loosens the slide lock connectors, slides the side support rails into the tubular portions of the grill sections, tightens the slide lock connectors to secure the side support rails (with the legs inside) in the tubular portion of the grill sections and then folds the two grill sections together to obtain the folded position for transport and storage.

In a second general aspect of the present invention, the portable cooking grill of the present invention includes a frame having a pair of extendable frame sections that each have a pair of elongated legs and a pair of elongated side support rails. Each of the legs are configured with a first leg member, a second leg member in telescoping cooperation with the first leg member and mechanism for securing the position of the second leg member relative to the first leg member. One end of each of the legs is pivotally connected to one end of the side support rails by a pivoting mechanism, such as a pivot pin. A locking mechanism, which is located at the pivoting mechanism for each leg and side support rail combination, independently locks the first frame section and the second frame section into either a first, upstanding position for cooking or a second folded, position for storage. In the preferred embodiment of this configuration, the locking mechanism comprises a pair of plates that are attached to either the legs or the side support rails, a first locking aperture on the plates, a second locking aperture on the plates and a removable locking pin. The locking pin is sized and configured to engage the first locking aperture to secure the portable cooking grill in the first position and engage the second locking aperture to secure the portable cooking grill in the second position. A pivot pin also extends between the pair of plates to pivot the legs. The grilling surface is formed by a grill insert having a first grill section and a second grill section that are foldably interconnected. Preferably, a hinge interconnects one end of each of the first and second grill sections. To facilitate extension of the portable cooking grill for larger sized fire pits or cooking areas, a first grill support is at the first and second sides of the first grill section and a second grill support is at the first and second sides of the second grill section. Each of the grill supports have a mechanism for slidably interconnecting one of the side support rails to the sides or the respective grill section to extend the legs of the first and second frame sections outwardly. Preferably, both of the grill inserts are replaceable to provide different grilling surfaces for cooking different types of food.

Accordingly, the primary objective of the present invention is to provide a portable cooking grill that provides the advantages discussed above and that overcomes the disadvantages and limitations associated with presently available portable cooking grills.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a portable cooking grill that is collapsible and foldable for ease in carrying and storing, configured to extend outwardly for different sizes of fire pits and provided with legs that raise/lower for positioning of the grilling surface relative to the fire or other heat source.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a portable cooking grill having telescoping legs that pivotally attach at one end of an extendable side support rail to allow the legs to be extended outwardly during use and to pivot into an abutting relationship for storage and transport.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a portable cooking grill having a grill insert comprised of two or more grill sections that are hingedly connected so as to allow the user to place the grill insert in a substantially flat position for cooking and to fold the grill insert for storage and transport.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a portable cooking grill having a pair of pivotally connected grill sections supported by generally U-shaped side support rails that are pivotally connected to telescoping legs, wherein the grill sections have tubular portions that are configured to receive the side support rails therein, with the legs folded inside the side support rails.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a portable cooking grill having a grill insert with grill supports on the sides thereof that are configured to slidably engage the side support rails of the frame to allow the user to extend one or more ends of the cooking grill in order to provide improved positioning of the cooking grill over the fire or other heat source.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a portable cooking grill having securing mechanisms on telescoping legs to secure the height of the grilling surface during use and pivoting/locking mechanisms to lock the legs in either a generally downward, supporting position for use of the cooking grill or a folded position for storage/transport of the cooking grill.

The above and other objectives of the present invention will be explained in greater detail by reference to the attached figures and the description of the preferred embodiment which follows. As set forth herein, the present invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, mode of operation and/or combination of processes presently described and understood by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings which illustrate the preferred embodiments and the best modes presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:

FIG. 1 is perspective view of a portable cooking grill configured according to one embodiment of the present invention shown in its cooking position for placement above a fire or other heat source;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 1 showing the legs fully telescoped and the side support rails fully extended;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 2 showing the telescoping legs retracted into their non-telescoped position;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 3 showing the side support rails retracted into their non-extended position;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 4 showing the legs folded upward against the side support rails;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 5 showing the grill insert folded to place the present invention into its folded position for ease of storage and transport;

FIG. 7 is an isolated side view of the pivoting/locking mechanism of one embodiment of the present invention shown in the cooking position to support the grilling surface above the fire or other heat source;

FIG. 8 is an isolated side view of the pivoting/locking mechanism of one embodiment of the present invention shown in the folded position for ease of storage and transport;

FIG. 9 is an isolated top view of the grill supports and side support rail for allowing extension of the legs that is utilized with the preferred embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is perspective view of a portable cooking grill configured according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention shown in its cooking position for placement above a fire or other heat source;

FIG. 11 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 1 showing the legs fully telescoped and the side support rails fully extended for use in the cooking position;

FIG. 12 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 11 showing the telescoping legs retracted into their non-telescoped position;

FIG. 13 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 12 showing the legs being folded into the side support rails;

FIG. 14 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 13 showing the side support rails, with the legs folded therein, substantially inserted into the tubular portion of the grill sections;

FIG. 15 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 14 showing the grill sections, with the side support rails and legs therein, being folded together; and

FIG. 16 is a side view of the portable cooking grill of FIG. 15 showing the grill in its folded position for ease of transport and storage.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the figures where like elements have been given like numerical designations to facilitate the reader's understanding of the present invention, and particularly with reference to the embodiment of the portable cooking grill of the present invention illustrated in the figures, various preferred embodiments of the present invention are set forth below. The enclosed description and drawings are merely illustrative of preferred embodiments and represent several different ways of configuring the present invention. Although specific components, materials, configurations and uses of the present invention are illustrated and set forth in this disclosure, it should be understood that a number of variations to the components and to the configuration of those components described herein and in the accompanying figures can be made without changing the scope and function of the invention set forth herein.

In one embodiment of the portable cooking grill of the present invention, shown in FIGS. 1 through 9, the portable cooking grill is identified generally as 10. As explained in more detail below, portable cooking grill 10 generally comprises a frame 12 that is configured to securely support grill insert 14 above a fire or other heat source and to be easily collapsed and folded for storage and transport of portable cooking grill 10. As shown in FIG. 1, grill insert 14 is configured to provide the user with a substantially flat, horizontally disposed grilling surface 15 upon which he or she can cook a variety of foods above the fire or other heat source. In the preferred embodiments, frame 12 comprises first frame section 16 and second frame section 18 that are cooperatively configured to support grill insert 14. First frame section 16 and second frame section 18 each comprise a pair of legs 20, having first end 22 and second end 24, and a pair of side support rails 26, having first end 28 and second end 30. In this embodiment, one or more transverse brace members 32 interconnect each pair of legs 20 to provide additional support for portable cooking grill 10 when used in its first or cooking position 34, as shown in FIG. 1. Also in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, each of the first ends 22 of legs 20 are pivotally connected to a first end 28 of a side support rail 26 by the pivot mechanism 36, the description and operation of which is described in more detail below and best shown in FIGS. 5, 7 and 8.

The preferred embodiments of the portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention utilizes legs 20 having a first leg member 38 and second leg member 40, which is in telescoping relationship with first leg member 38. In the embodiment shown, first leg member 38 and second leg member 40 are configured such that second leg member 49 is slidably disposed inside of first leg member 38 so that the user can adjust the height of grilling surface 15, defined by grill insert 14, to place the food nearer or further away from the fire or other heat source, as illustrated by the change from FIG. 2 to FIG. 3. To fix the height of grill insert 14 relative to the fire, legs 20 also comprise a securing mechanism 42 to secure the position of second leg member 40 relative to first leg member 38. In one embodiment, securing mechanism 42 is a thumb-type screw that is configured to be threadably received by first leg member 38 and engage second leg member 40 to secure the height of grilling surface 15 in the user's desired position. As known to those skilled in the art, the telescoping relationship between first leg member 38 and second leg member 40 can be reversed (i.e., first leg member 38 slidably disposed in second leg member 40) and a variety of different types of screws, bolts or other tightening mechanisms can be utilized as securing mechanism 42 to secure first 38 and second 40 leg members relative to each other. In addition, although not shown but well known in the art, securing mechanism 42 can comprise a removable pin member that is configured to insertably engage one set of cooperatively disposed holes in first leg member 38 and second leg member 40. As shown in FIG. 1, legs 20 can also include an enlarged area or foot 44 at second end 24 thereof to improve the stability of portable cooking grill 10 when placed in its cooking position 34. Alternatively, second end 24 of leg 20 can comprise a stake-type of end for insertion into the ground.

As shown in FIGS. 1 through 5, 7 and 8, first end 22 of each of legs 20 connects to first end 28 of one of the side support rails 26. In the preferred embodiments of the portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention, each leg 20 is pivotally connected to a side support rail 26 by pivot mechanism 36, which is configured to allow leg 20 to pivot outwardly and upwardly, as shown in FIG. 5, until it is folded against the top edge 46 of a side support rail 26. Although pivot mechanism 36 can be configured to pivot leg 20 inwardly and up against the bottom edge 48 of a side support rail 26, the present configuration provides a more compact unit, shown in FIG. 6, with the present folding configuration for grill insert 14. As known to those skilled in the art, a variety of different types of pivot mechanisms 36 can be utilized with portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention. In one embodiment, best shown in FIGS. 1, 7 and 8, pivot mechanism 36 comprises a pair of plate members 50, with one of the plates 50 positioned against the outside edge 52 of side support rail 26 and the outside edge 54 of leg 20 and the other of the plates 50 positioned against the inside edge 56 of side support rail 26 and the inside edge 58 of leg 20 at the junction of first end 22 of leg 20 and first end 28 of side support rail 26, and pivot pin 60 interconnecting plates 50 that is configured to allow leg 20 to generally freely pivot relative to side support rail 26. As known in the art, pivoting members such as pivot pin 60 are configured with a generally cylindrical body having capped ends to secure the body between the pivoting item. Preferably, plates 50 are joined to first leg member 38 and pivot therewith.

The embodiment of the portable cooking grill 10 of FIGS. 1 through 9 also comprises a locking mechanism, shown generally as 62, to allow the user to lock leg 20 in a generally downwardly projecting direction for the first or cooking position 34, as shown in FIG. 1, or lock leg 20 in a generally flat, folded direction against side support rail 26, as shown in FIG. 5, to achieve the second or folded position 64 shown in FIG. 6. In this embodiment, locking mechanism 62 comprises a pair of aligned first locking apertures 66 for locking legs 20 downward, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 7, a pair of aligned second locking apertures 68 for locking legs 20 in the folded position shown in FIGS. 5 and 8, and a locking pin 70 for engaging either first locking apertures 66 or second locking apertures 68. In the embodiment shown in the figures, locking pin 70 is a standard ring/pull type of pin that is configured to be inserted through first 66 or second 68 locking apertures and secured therein by a ball or other type of member on the opposite side of locking pin 70 from the ring portion. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 7, when portable cooking grill 10 is in the first or cooking position 34 and the user desires to lock leg 20 in a generally downward direction, locking pin 70 is inserted through and secured in first locking apertures 66. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 8, when portable cooking grill 10 is in the second or folded position 64 and the user desires to lock leg 20 in the folded position against side support rail 26, locking pin 70 is inserted through and secured in second locking apertures 68. Use of locking mechanism 62 described above, or an equivalent type of locking mechanism, allows the user to quickly and easily disengage locking mechanism 62 to frame 12 between first/cooking position 34 and second/folded position 64.

As stated above, portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention has a grill insert 14 that provides grilling surface 15. In the preferred embodiments, grill insert 14 comprises a first grill section 72, a second grill section 74 and folding mechanism 76 interconnecting first 72 and second 74 grill sections to allow the user to fold grill insert 14 for more compact storage thereof, as shown in FIG. 6. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, first grill section 72 has a first end 78 and a second end 80 and second grill section 74 has a first end 82 and a second end 84. In this embodiment, second end 80 of first grill section 72 is positioned in an adjoining or near-adjoining position with second end 84 of second grill section 74, such that the first ends 78 and 82 of first grill section 72 and second grill section 74, respectively, are facing away from each other. Folding mechanism 76 interconnects second end 80 of first grill section 72 and second end 84 of second grill section 74. In the preferred embodiment, folding mechanism 76 is a hinge or hinge-like member that is configured to allow first grill section 72 and second grill section 74 to fold downwards to the second/folded position shown in FIG. 6. This embodiment also includes a cover plate 86 that is attached to either of first 72 or second 74 grill sections such that when portable cooking grill 10 is in the first/cooking position 34 cover plate 86 covers the joining, or lack thereof, of second end 80 of first grill section 72 and second end 84 of second grill section 74. This embodiment also includes handles 88 at both first end 78 of first grill section 72 and first end 82 of second grill section 74 to assist the user with carrying portable cooking grill 10 when it is in the second/folded position 64 or moving portable cooking grill 10 when it is in the first/cooking position 34. Handles 88 can be fixedly attached to or made integral with first 72 and second 74 grill sections.

As shown in FIG. 1, each of first 72 and second 74 grill sections of grill insert 14 have a first side 90 and a second side 92. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 9, a first grill support 94 is mounted to, affixed to or integral with first side 90 and second side 92 of first grill section 72 of grill inert 14 and a second grill support 95 is mounted to, affixed to or integral with first side 90 and second side 92 of second grill section 74. As best shown in FIG. 9 with first grill support 94, first 94 and second 95 grill supports are configured to part of a slidable connecting mechanism, shown generally as 96, that slidably connects first 72 and second 74 grill sections of grill insert 14 to side support rails 26 so as to allow the user to extend legs 20 of first frame section 16 and/or legs 20 of second frame section 18 outwardly, thereby extending the size of portable cooking grill 10. This allows portable cooking grill 10 to be adaptable for different sizes of fire pits and other cooking areas. If needed or desired, the user can extend legs 20 outside of the fire pit. Although the preferred embodiments have both first 16 and second 18 frame sections being capable of extension, the portable cooking grill 10 can be configured with one of either first 72 and second 74 grill section having first 94 or second 95 grill support such that only one end of portable cooking grill 10 extends. In this embodiment, the slidable connecting mechanism 96 also includes a pair of vertical channels 98 and a pair of side channels 100 in grill support 94 and, disposed through side channels 100, a pair of slide lock connectors 102, such as lock nuts, to lock the slidable connecting mechanism 96 in place (i.e., fully retracted, fully extended or anywhere in between). In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, slide lock connectors 102 are reachable from above or below through vertical channels 98 and extend through an aperture (not shown) in side channels 100 to connect to a wing nut or other type of connector for relatively easy loosening and tightening of slidable connecting mechanism 96. The inside edge 56 of side support rail 26 slidably abuts against grill support 94 when slide lock connectors 102 are loosened and tightly abuts against grill support 94 when slide lock connectors 102 are tightened. The use of multiple side channels 100 provides a stopping mechanism (i.e., at the inside or outside edge of side channels 100) to prevent side support rails 26 from sliding beyond the ability of grill support 94 to provide the necessary support therefor. As known to those skilled in the art, the length of side channels 100 defines the amount of extension provided for first frame section 16 and/or second frame section 18. Preferably, slide lock connectors 102 are configured such that the user only needs to slightly loosen slide lock connectors 102 to allow side support rails 26 to slide relative to grill insert 14 so as to move first frame section 16 and/or second frame section 18 outwardly.

As stated above, in the preferred embodiments of the present invention grill insert 14 comprises first grill section 72 and second grill section 74. In the embodiment shown in the figures, both first 72 and second 74 grill sections of grill insert 14 have a plurality of interconnected, spaced apart and generally parallel transverse grate rods or bars 104 that form a grate for cooking surface 15 on which the food is cooked. As known to those skilled in the art, cooking surface 15 can comprise a variety of different configurations, including a cross-hatched, ribbed or solid surface, that provide benefits for cooking certain types of foods (for instance, pancakes and eggs generally do better on a solid, griddle-like surface and foods such as bacon and fish do better on a ribbed surface). In addition, grate rods 104 can be spaced closer or further apart as may be desired for different types of cooking styles or foods. Although the user of portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention can place pots or pans directly on cooking surface 15 as desired to cook these foods, the present invention can be modified to utilize a different type of cooking surface for first grill section 72 and/or second grill section 74. For instance, first grill section 72 can comprise the cooking surface 15 shown in the drawings and second grill section 74 can comprise a solid, griddle-like surface to allow the user to cook different types of foods on the first 72 and second 74 grill sections at the same time. In addition, portable cooking grill 10 can utilize replaceable grill inserts 14, such that the grill insert 14 shown in the figures could be replaced with a grill insert 14 having a different configuration (for instance, both first 72 and second 74 grill sections being a solid, griddle-like surface) as desired by the user. To replace grill insert 14, the user would only need to totally disengage slide lock connectors 102, remove grill insert 14 from first frame section 16 and second frame section 18, place the new grill insert 14 in place against side support rails 26 and engage slide lock connectors 102.

The components for portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention can be made out of a variety of different materials, including various metals and composite materials, that are suitable for use in or near a fire or other heat source. In a preferred embodiments, the components for portable cooking grill 10 are made out of steel. Other materials may provide a lighter weight portable cooking grill 10, but generally at a higher cost in order to obtain the necessary fire resistance. In addition, further bracing can be added to portable cooking grill 10 as may be desirable or necessary, depending on the thickness and dimensions of the various components. For instance, grill insert 14 can include grill transverse member 106 to provide additional support to grate rods 104. As known to those skilled in the art, portable cooking grill 10 can be manufactured in various sizes for different types of uses. For instance, portable cooking grill 10 can be made in one version suitable for use with persons having recreational or other camping vehicles and in another version suitable for use with persons who may want to carry portable cooking grill 10 in a backpack. To prevent soot and cooked food that may remain on portable cooking grill 10 after use from coming into contact with persons, belongings or vehicles, the preferred use of the present invention includes a carrying case suitable for receiving and carrying portable cooking grill 10.

In use for the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 9, the user carries the folded portable cooking grill 10 by handles 88 in its second or folded position 64 to where its use is desired, such as a fire pit at a camping site. The user unfolds portable cooking grill 10 by using handles 88 to unfold folding mechanism 76 and then unlocks legs 20 from their folded position, shown in FIG. 5, by removing locking pin 70 from first locking aperture 66. Once unlocked, legs 20 are pivoted outwardly and then downwardly, as shown in reverse in FIG. 4. The user locks legs 20 in their downward projecting position by placing locking pin 70 into second locking aperture 68 to provide a substantially flat, horizontal grilling surface 15. To extend portable cooking grill 10 for larger sized fire pits or other cooking areas, the user disengages slide lock connector 102 and pulls legs 20 outward to cause side support rails 26 to slide along first 94 and/or second 95 grill supports. Once the desired extension is obtained, the user locks side support rails 26 in position by tightening slide lock connector 102. To raise grilling surface 15 further above the fire or other heat source, the user loosens securing mechanism 42 to allow second leg member 40 to telescopically extend from first leg member 38 until grilling surface 15 is at the desired height. Once grilling surface 15 is at the desired height, the user tightens securing mechanism 42. With the portable cooking grill 10 in its first or cooking position 34, at the appropriate width and height, the user grills his or her food on grilling surface 15. To take down portable cooking grill 10, as shown in FIGS. 2 through 6, the user merely loosens securing mechanism 42 to retract second leg member 40 into first leg member 38, tightens securing mechanism 42 to retain leg 20 in the retracted position, loosens slide lock connector 102 to retract first 16 and second 18 frame sections, tightens slide lock connector 102 to retain side support rails 26 in their retracted position, removes locking pin 70 from first locking aperture 66, folds legs 20 upward and then over onto side support rails 26, places locking pin 70 in second locking aperture 68 to secure legs 20 in their folded position, and then folds first grill section 72 and second grill section 74 at folding mechanism 76 to place portable cooking grill 10 in its second or folded position 64. As will be recognized by those skilled in the art, the order in which portable cooking grill 10 is set up or taken down can be modified (i.e., retract first 16 and second 18 frame sections prior to collapsing second leg member 40 into first leg member 38) as desired by the user.

The preferred embodiment of the portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 10 through 16. In this embodiment, side support rails 26 are received in tubular sections 108 along the sides 90 and 92 of first grill section 72 and second grill section 74, as best shown in FIG. 10. As shown, the tubular portions 108 are open at least the first ends 78 and 82 of grill sections 72 and 74, respectively, to allow side support rails 26 to slide inside when extending or collapsing grill 10. The legs 20 are configured to collapse, with second leg member 40 telescopically received inside first leg member 38 and be locked in their desired extended or collapsed position by securing mechanism 42, as set forth above, so as to adjust the height of first 72 and second 74 grilling sections (defining grilling surface 15) relative to a fire or other source of heat. The first end 22 of legs 20 pivotally connect to the first end 28 of rails 26 with pivot mechanism 36. In the preferred configuration, pivot mechanism 36 is a pivot pin 60 that interconnects the first end 22 of legs 20 and the first end 28 of side support rails 26. The legs 20 and side support rails 26 should be cooperatively configured to allow the leg 20 to freely pivot, as best shown in FIG. 13. Although grill 10 of this embodiment could be configured with the locking mechanism 62 described above, in the preferred embodiment the legs are configured to vertically support side support rails 26 and first 72 and second 74 grill sections by folding legs 20 outward to the first or cooking position of FIG. 10.

In the preferred embodiment, first 72 and second 74 grill sections are each configured with a tubular sections 108 along sides 90 and 92. The tubular sections 108 are sized and configured to receive side support rails 26 therein. In the preferred configuration, the tubular sections 108 have a substantially rectangular or square cross-section that is only open at the first ends 78 and 82 of first 72 and second 74 grill sections, respectively (i.e., the sides and second ends 80 and 84 being closed). Although it is preferred that the sides of tubular sections 108 be closed, if desired one or more of the side walls can be partially or even substantially open to reduce weight and material costs. As best shown in FIG. 10, side support rails 26 are preferably provided in a substantially U-shaped cross-section configuration having the an open channel 110 disposed generally downward (relative to cooking surface 15) and sized/configured to receive legs 20 therein. Once the legs 20 are folded inside the side support rails 26, as shown being done in FIG. 13, side support rails 26 can be slid into the tubular sections 108, as shown in FIG. 14. Transverse brace members 32, interconnecting pairs of legs 20, must be cooperatively configured with first end 78 of first 72 and second 74 grill sections such that transverse brace members 32 slide under first end 78 when side support rails 26 slide into tubular sections 108. Slide lock connectors 102 can be utilized to secure the side support rails 26, with the legs 20 folded into channel 110, inside first 72 and second 74 grill sections. With the side support rails 26 (and legs 20) secured inside first 72 and second 74 grill sections, the user can fold the two grill sections 72 and 74 together, as shown being done in FIG. 15, to obtain the second or folded position of FIG. 16 for easier transport and storage.

Although securing mechanism 42 and slide lock connector 102 can be of a variety of different mechanisms, in the preferred configuration both securing mechanism 42 and the engagement means 102 for locking the side support rail 26 relative to the channel 110 are both a thumb screw type of connector that moves in and out of a aperture in the outer members (i.e., first leg member 38 and the sides 92 and 94 of grill sections 72 and 74) to engage the surface of second leg members 40 and side support rails 26, respectively. As will be readily understood by those skilled in the art, various other types of connectors and mechanisms for engaging one slidable member relative to another can be utilized with the grill 10 of the present invention.

In use, to fold or collapse the portable cooking grill 10 of the present invention from its folded and extended cooking position 34, the user loosens the leg securing mechanism 42 to slide second leg member 40 into first leg member 38, tightens securing mechanism 42 to hold second leg member 40 inside first leg member 38, folds the collapsed legs 20 into the channel 110 of side support rails 26, loosens slide lock connectors 102, slides side support rails 26 into tubular sections 108 of the first 72 and second 74 grill sections, tightens slide lock connectors 102 to secure the side support rails 26 (with the legs 20 inside) in the tubular section 108 and then folds the two grill sections 72 and 74 together to obtain the folded position 64 for transport and storage. To set-up the grill 10 of the present invention, the user merely unfolds the two grill sections 72 and 74 into the generally planar grilling surface 15, loosens the slide lock connectors 102, slides side support rails 26 out of tubular section 108 the a sufficient distance to allow the legs 20 to pivot downward to the generally right angle configuration of FIGS. 10 and 11, adjusts the distance side support rails 26 extend from the grill sections 72 and 74 for the fire or other source of heat, tightens the slide lock connectors 102 to secure the position of the side support rails 26 relative to the grill sections 72 and 74, loosens securing mechanism 42 to allow second leg member 40 to telescopically extend from first leg member 38 the desired distance and then tightens securing mechanism 42 to fix the height of grilling surface 15 relative to the fire or other source of heat.

While there are shown and described herein certain specific alternative forms of the invention, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention is not so limited, but is susceptible to various modifications and rearrangements in design and materials without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In particular, it should be noted that the present invention is subject to modification with regard to assembly, materials, size, shape and use. For instance, some of the components described above can be made integral with each other to reduce the number of separate components and various replacement components can be utilized that perform the same function as those described above.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8020547 *Aug 6, 2007Sep 20, 2011Clarry Pellet Stove, LlcPellet stove
US8065999 *Jul 14, 2008Nov 29, 2011W.C. Bradley Co.Adjustable cooking grate for barbeque grills
US8479720Oct 16, 2008Jul 9, 2013Oscar Enrique FigueroaHeating device and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification126/30, 126/25.00R, 108/1, 126/9.00R
International ClassificationF24B3/00
Cooperative ClassificationF24B1/205, A47J33/00, A47J2037/0777
European ClassificationA47J33/00, F24B1/20B2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 13, 2012FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20120923
Sep 23, 2012LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
May 7, 2012REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed